Beryl and I just dropped off our election ballots in this campaign season featuring two very controversial candidates.
Like most Americans, we have found the issues surrounding the main candidates to be so divisive that we found it extremely difficult to determine who to vote for. As a result, I won’t pretend to simplify it by saying who I think anyone should vote for. I respect everyone’s struggle as a personal one.
But, in the cases of you who have yet to vote, I would like to mention how Beryl and I processed things, in the hopes it may help you reach your own decision.
I summarize our response as citizens of this country and as citizens of God’s Kingdom this way: Act, speak and trust.
1. We Act
Beryl and I have questioned not only whom we vote for, but whether we vote at all. Abstaining out of conviction is an option, and it has the potential of conveying a message, especially if unusually large numbers of voters do so. But in our case, rather than avoid any personal responsibility in the end result, we felt a civic duty (and privilege) to participate and to let our choices be known. Not only for the slot of president, but for a host of local issues.
2. We Speak
How to make a choice? Polls clearly demonstrate that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the least popular candidates for their respective parties in modern history. We need to decide if the possible upside of either outweighs their evident downsides.
In addition, they are not the only options to consider. There are a multitude of Libertarian, Independent and other candidates; and a write-in candidate is also a way to voice one’s opinion. No, none of these others will win. But sometimes speaking is more about making our voice heard than it is about changing the end result.
In making our choice we wanted to be guided by Micah 6:8:
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Which action or vote on our part would most closely demonstrate this kind of spirit? That’s what Beryl and I tried to find.
3. We Trust
In the end, we reminded ourselves of the position that we are actually voting for. We are not nominating Senior Pastor. We’re voting for a fallible Chief Executive of a flawed system.
It’s unlikely, in fact, probably even implausible, that either of the two primary candidates would fulfill our hopes for bringing about increased qualities of the Kingdom of God on earth. So we set that expectation aside.
In the end, our hope and trust is not based on Clinton, Trump nor on any other candidate on the list. Will this future president affect many political and moral issues in the coming years? Absolutely. Will they struggle mightily to get any of their preferences through a very divided Congress? It sure looks like it. Is it likely that at the end of their term our opinion will be something along the lines of “Well, that was disappointing”? Yes. Does he or she have the final say in the unfolding story of God’s purposes on earth? Not even close.
A favorite Psalm of mine is 20:7, 8:
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”
I usually apply these verses this way: Some of us are prone to trusting technology; others of us place our confidence in sheer effort or strength. Ultimately both of these will prove unreliable. It will be those who trust in God who remain standing.
In this case, we might apply the passage as: Some tend to trust Republicans and some tend to trust Democrats, but in the end, they will prove all too human and their weaknesses will be evident for all to see. Ultimately, we trust in the name of the Lord our God, who is the one who is truly sovereign. Ultimately, he is in charge and will bring about his redemptive purposes on earth in his timing, no matter who is in the Oval Office.
We’re standing on that hope.
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” My advice as you consider whether and how to vote? Act, speak, trust.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, and their daughter Gemma. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.